John Buck, Logan Morrison back at Marlins Park as Mariners
MIAMI — When John Buck went to Safeco Field for his offseason physical after signing with the Seattle Mariners he took a selfie next to a familiar face gracing the venue’s wall.
Buck and Logan Morrison, two former members of the rebranded Miami Marlins, returned to Marlins Park for this weekend’s series.
"I remember the excitement," Buck said of Opening Night 2012. "I really hope this city gives this team a chance because it’s young and exciting. They deserve to come and watch good baseball and forgive and forget some of the other stuff they’re upset about because the team is potentially a very good ballclub."
It wasn’t Buck’s first time at Marlins Park since the November 2012 blockbuster trade between the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. He visited as a member of the New York Mets during the early part of last season.
Morrison, who spent four injury-plagued seasons with the Marlins, made his first trip back but ironically enough landed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a right hamstring strain.
The 26-year-old knew it was only a matter of time before he got traded when Miami signed free-agent first baseman Garrett Jones in December. The Mariners dealt right-handed reliever Carter Capps, who is currently pitching in Triple-A New Orleans, for Morrison.
In 363 games as a Marlin, Morrison batted .249 with 42 homers and 162 RBI. Asked whether he believed the organization cut the chord too soon, Morrison thought it was possible.
"I hope that I prove that they did," Morrison said. "It’s not like I’m going out there with that in mind, but if I prove that they did then that means I’m playing well and helping my team win, and that’s what I want to do.
Despite the publicity from his Twitter antics, Morrison appreciated what the organization did for him.
The Marlins selected him in the 22nd round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. It gave him his shot in the big leagues in 2010, allowing him to tell his father — before he passed away — that he would be a major leaguer.
"It was enjoyable, exciting, a lot of ups and downs," Morrison said. "Disappointing as well. Lot of emotions that happened with them for six, seven years."
Buck, now a backup catcher, started Sunday’s finale and hit eighth in the order. In his two seasons as a starter with the Marlins, he posted a .213 average with 28 homers and 98 RBI.
The home run sculpture in center and the lime-green outfield wall brought back memories of the promise of the 2012 season.
After going 8-14 in April, Miami righted the ship for a 21-8 record in May. Thirty-four losses over the next two months, however, forced the organization to rethink personnel.
All-Stars Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante and Gaby Sanchez, as well as right-hander Anibal Sanchez, were all traded. The Marlins finished 69-93 and last in the National League East.
"I think if we had another year to go at it with each other …" Buck said. "We all got along great. We started out great and hit a little slide we never recovered from. With all the hype and everything going on it blew up a lot more than everyone thought. To look back and point your finger at one thing — There were too many things. It was like the whole world came crashing down."
WORTH NOTING: Today marks the first game in Marlins Park history (opened in 2012, 175th game) that the retractable roof has been open for a day game.